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What Is Grace?

Grace is a word I have seldom understood. It often get’s lost in the chaos of my own self-condemnation, guilt, and self-pity.

Despite my misunderstanding and ignorance of the miracle of grace, I cannot eliminate the reality of such a wonderful gift from God. Grace is undeserved. I like earning. Grace is free. I like knowing that I’m being “rewarded” for being awesome.

When I was growing up, I played basketball and baseball in a youth league that handed out an end-of-season trophy to EVERY SINGLE PLAYER who participated in the league. It didn’t matter if my team was the best (or the worst); what mattered was that we were all rewarded equally.

First off, my kids are NEVER going to get rewarded for their athletic endeavors if they don’t deserve it. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. If I really think they worked hard, then that’s one thing.

Yet God…

Isn’t that always the case? People fail us, yet God…We can’t earn forgiveness for the bad decisions we’ve made, yet God…Our hearts are broken, yet God…

Grace is what our souls are craving that we just can’t get out of our system. Grace is the drug of the soul that simply needs to be injected into our spirits. Grace is the heart behind the whole mission of Jesus. Without grace, there is no redemption of humanity.

Maybe you think you’re alright; it’s possible you even think you’re a “good person”. The truth that we know deep-down-inside is that we’re dark, wicked, and self-consumed. But go ahead. Pretend like you’re the winning peach cobbler in the county fair.

It’s quite possible you’ve never come across this thing called grace, at least not in your neighborhood. The world doesn’t get it. It’s such a rare thing to offend someone and for that individual to say, “I understand and it’s alright; I forgive you. You’re human.” The truth is, most of us still hold onto a little bitterness and pain from the offense, even when we offer lip service pardons.

Not God. Jesus created you, knowing that you would break His heart before uttering the words of your creation. Despite our eventual rebellion, He still created us in love. Absurd grace.

“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” – Ephesians 2:7-10 

I was recently talking with someone about the beauty of the “Old Covenant” and the “New Covenant” in the Scriptures. It’s too complex to dive into fully here, but this is one of my favorite things about Jesus and the New Covenant with humanity:

Before Jesus arrived on the scene, those who came before him received His grace by faith as they looked forward to His sacrifice. After Jesus entered our broken world, we are invited to experience His grace as we look back on His sacrifice.

God’s grace has been here all along, even when we may have missed it in this damning world.

The grace of Jesus invites us to turn over our wickedness for His goodness. Such grace offers freedom from the chains we bound around ourselves. Grace invites us back into the light when we were the ones who chose to run into darkness. Grace is radical and completely unlike anything this world has ever seen, which is why it scares us to death.

Have you experienced the grace of Jesus? I’m not talking about a feeling; I’m talking about accepting that you are loved, even at your worst.

His grace and forgiveness is available to all who are willing to humble themselves and admit that they need unmerited, unearned forgiveness and love.

Grace is available to you, regardless of the condemnation you may be carrying on your shoulders.

God’s grace has been here all along.